Pregnant women 42% more likely to crash... but still safer than men

Pregnant woman
26 May, 2014 7:00am Joe Finnerty

Expectant mothers are 42% more likely to crash their cars than women who aren't pregnant but young men are more at risk

Women are 42 per cent more likely to have a serious car crash while pregnant, but are still safer than men, according to a new study.

Researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) in Canada tracked half a million women over five years and found in the second trimester of pregnancy, the ladies’ risk of having a crash requiring emergency medical treatment went up from 4.55 to 6.47 per 1,000. However, that was still a lower risk than men of the same age, with scientists revealing the male crash rate to be eight per 1,000 drivers. Even the worst month during pregnancy – the fifth – peaked at only 7.66 per 1,000. 

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Lead scientist Donald Redelmeier said the second trimester was worse because pregnant women would be affected by nausea, fatigue and distraction, but may not be taking it into account. “These findings do not mean pregnant women shouldn’t drive,” he added. “An awareness of the elevated risk during the second trimester does merit consideration for prenatal care.”

In total, the 507,262 women in the Ontario study accounted for 6,922 serious car crashes in the three years before their pregnancy – equivalent to 177 per month. In the second trimester, this went up to 252 per month. The risk was lowest of all in the year after birth, with parents displaying more driving care while transporting their newborn children.

Crash rates for mums to be
Time Crash rate (accidents per 1,000) Crash rate (per month)
Before pregnancy 4.55 177
First month of first trimester 4.33 169
Second month of second trimester 7.66 299
Second trimester as a whole 6.47 252
Third month of third trimester 2.74 107
Year after birth 2.35 91